This new policy follows the previous policy position of the Trump administration known as the "remain in Mexico" policy. This requires asylum seekers to stay in Mexico while their asylum claims are being processed.
A federal judge decided Wednesday to leave in place a Trump administration rule that imposes restrictions on individuals seeking asylum in the United States if they passed through a third country on their way to the border between the U.S. and Mexico, potentially leading to a sharp reduction in Central American migrants entering the country.
The rule, published in the Federal Register last week, requires people seeking asylum to first apply in one of the countries they pass through on their way to the U.S., with certain exceptions. The rule was quickly met with a legal challenge from advocacy groups, who moved for a temporary restraining order blocking the rule. After a hearing in Washington, D.C. federal court, District Judge Timothy J. Kelly denied the motion. The rule will remain in place for the duration of the case, unless the decision is successfully appealed.
Kelly, who was appointed to the bench by President Trump said the immigrant advocate groups who filed the lawsuit did not show that their work would be irreparably harmed if the policy moved forward.
With certain exceptions, the rule requires individuals to apply for and be denied asylum in another country in order to apply in the U.S. That means that migrants from Central American nations who travel through Mexico – who make up a significant portion of recent asylum seekers – will not be eligible for asylum in America unless they previously applied for asylum in Mexico or any other country they traversed and were turned down.